THOMSON - McDuffie County's administrator will stay on the job 30 more days after resigning Monday amid allegations of financial impropriety.
Lamar Hamill and two other county employees - Director of Recreation Bob Howard and Rusty Allen, special projects coordinator for the McDuffie County Roads Department - were the subjects of a special called meeting held by county commissioners Monday night. Each man was accused of using a county subcontractor to perform services on their homes. Allen and Howard will be reprimanded.
Before the meeting, Hamill resigned. Because of his involvement with several county projects, Hamill will continue at his post for 30 more days to allow for a smoother transition to a new county administrator. If the commissioners deem in 30 days that they need more time to sort things through, they will give Hamill an additional 30 days.
Regardless of the outcome, Hamill denied all allegations against him.
"He says he did nothing improper, and he maintains he did no wrongdoing," said Board Chairman Charlie Newton, adding that Hamill cited his damaged reputation as the reason for his resignation.
During Monday night's meeting - which Hamill did not attend - officials said they wanted to find out if the county administrator had used county funds to pay for his renovations. They also looked into similar allegations against Howard and Allen.
Howard and Allen attended the meeting and both claimed that they received the services as gifts and favors.
"(The subcontractor) fixed my floor. He also fixed my kitchen up. It was a gift," said Howard, who said the work happened while he was on vacation. "I'm sorry that it happened. No county funds were used for that."
Allen said he helped the county contractor on the project in question and he admitted to taking a $1,000 loan - which he paid back - from the same contractor.
"Me and him both done the work," said Allen of the subcontractor. "There was a county employee who came out and helped. I paid for all the materials."
The board found Howard and Allen to be in violation of the county's personnel policy, which states that county employees are not allowed to accept services from other county employees without proper authorization.
The board initially ruled that Howard and Allen would receive letters of reprimand, as well as forfeiture of their 2.25 percent standard of living salary increase. Howard and Allen have until Thursday to appeal the commission's decision.
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